How to Protect Your Home

When it comes to home maintenance, everyone thinks of weatherproofing, but does anyone think of thief proofing? Last year, there were 8,632,512 property crimes, costing an estimated $16.6 billion, which includes burglary.

Here are a few home security basics to help you protect your home.

(Homes for Sale in Berkeley, WV)

Check Locks and Latches – Add checking locks and latches on windows and doors to your regular maintenance routine. All it takes for a thief to gain entry is a single broken latch.

Cut Back Trees and Hedges – Maintain sight lines to the street by removing trees and hedges that obscure key entry points into the house. The lack of a suitable place to hide is sometimes enough to deter would-be criminals.

Alarm System – Consider an adding alarm system. Modern systems offer features like remote access, security cameras and 24-hour monitoring. Here’s what you need to know before buying an alarm system.

Security Lights – Install security lights anywhere a potential thief might look to gain entry to your home, including back doors, attached or detached garages, covered porches and any other outbuildings.

Beware of Bragging – Avoid broadcasting big-ticket purchases via social media – this could be an invitation for trouble. It’s also a good idea to shred any receipts or credit card statements that may alert thieves to your recent purchase (this also helps prevent identity theft).

Keep Control of Keys – Get in the habit of gathering keys from contractors or household helpers after they are done. Be careful about using a smart key system that allows you to rekey locks yourself – some are easily picked.

(Homes for Sale in Berkeley, WV)

Family Reunion 2015

Gary Keller delivers 150-minute, 99-slide tome to 10,000 KW agents in Orlando

Along with data dump, KW guru discusses portals, NAR and his competitors

ORLANDO, Fla. — Yesterday morning, more than 10,000 Keller Williams agents sat studiously quiet for 157 minutes at the Orlando Convention Center as KW guru Gary Keller delivered a 99-slide PowerPoint lecture on economics and the state of the industry without seeming to blink or take a breath. (See the full presentation.)

At the annual raucous rah-rah KW Family Reunion event, Keller’s serious tome was mixed with aw-shucks tales of his early days as a real estate agent in Texas and a few light barbs at his competitors, the Internet portals, this news service and the National Association of Realtors.

“NAR already sold us down the river,” he cracked when talking about realtor.com.

Keller was generally optimistic about the economy and the housing market, but he did not resort to tired industry boosterism. He cautioned that market cycles are not to be underestimated and they cannot be predicted, and he advised his audience to get into the flow of a cycle to grow your business. He pointed to gross domestic product, lower unemployment, housing affordability and record low interest rates as indicators that made him cautiously bullish.

His deck was generously mixed with NAR research numbers, government data, and other economic and industry sources as he meticulously walked the audience through a raft of charts, pie charts and numbers. The crowd seemed truly enraptured, despite the seriousness and dry nature of the subject. His color commentary warmed up the audience. Plus, like dancers flanking Beyoncé in a Las Vegas show, three young research assistants sitting behind Keller interjected their own commentary, always in step and never upstaging the KW founder. The fact that all four seemed to be reveling in the show helped to keep the crowd’s attention.

More friendly professor than big-shot CEO, Keller waxed on about technology and wasn’t afraid to take a position. He dissed the broker portal initiative but embraced the industry Upstream project, which is attempting to take back control of the listing data from the portals and wayward MLS organizations.

On the eve of an announcement that KW is the largest real estate company in the world as measured by agent count, it was evident that Gary Keller is enjoying the fruits of his success.

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(Article by Inman News)

Maintain Your Home with This Handy Checklist

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

It’s that time of year again! Fall is the perfect time to do your annual home maintenance. The following list will help you protect what is probably your most valuable investment from the damaging effects of weather, wear and tear, and general mishaps.

Fire Safety:
– Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
– Replace batteries a minimum of twice a year.
– Check and/or replace fire extinguishers.
– Clear lint traps, hood vents and fans.
– Clean and inspect chimney.

Weatherproofing:
Check for leaks around windows and doors.
– Fill any cracks or gaps.
– Upgrade insulation to improve heating and cooling efficiency.
– Add or replace weatherstripping.

Inspect Building Exterior:
– Check roof for leaks, especially around vents, skylights and chimneys.
– Power-wash exterior, noting the condition of siding.
– Inspect landscaping, paying attention to low spots or signs of pooling water.
– Clean gutters and downspouts.

Check for Damage:
Deal with any pests in basements and attics.
– Inspect foundation and fill any cracks with epoxy.
– Check for dampness and for signs of mold and mildew.
– Assess and/or remove any dead or severely damaged trees.

Annual Servicing:
– Inspect and service hot water tank.
– Test faucets, and change washers and screens.
– Clean and replace HVAC system filters.
– Service HVAC system.
– Check outlets and replace light bulbs.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

8 Fantastical Futuristic Appliances

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

It wasn’t long ago that food replicators, holograms and computers that respond to your voice were the stuff of science fiction. These futuristic appliances are making that vision of the future a reality (although you’ll have to wait a while to get your hands on some of them).

3D Food Printer – Funded by NASA, the 3D Pizza Printer is intended for extended space travel and works by “printing” pizza building blocks from powder cartridges. Who knows what other kinds of food could be eventually printed?

Mini Dishwasher – Decidedly impractical for a family of four, this pint-sized power washer is just big enough for singles. It even recycles its own water!

Smart Refrigerator – Designed for the modern family, smart refrigerators are turning a formerly humble appliance into a multi-media food management hub with features like integrated apps, receipt scanning, expiration date monitoring and grocery list management.

Under-Cabinet Tech – Perfect for any high-tech kitchen, this modular under-cabinet system can be customized to fit your needs with accessories like plugs, lighting and tablet/smartphone holders.

iPhone Thermometer – For the griller in your family, the iCelsius turns your iPhone into a food inspection thermometer, displaying real-time temperature measurements.

Personal Microwave – Ideal for reheating small food items, this mini microwave weighs only 12 pounds and fits on your desk.

Learning Thermostat – For anyone who hates programming the thermostat, this smart alternative programs itself, learning your preferences and patterns as you adjust it.

Disappearing Range Hood – A must-have for every gourmet kitchen,the Jenn-Air Accolade range hood pops up from the countertop to clear the air and then disappears on command.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

How to Find the Perfect Home Away From Home

Longing for a home away from home, somewhere you can get away from it all? Here are some considerations when renting or buying a summer getaway.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Location, Location, Location! — Consider the factors that will increase the price of either renting or buying: proximity to the city, style and size, location on or near the water.

Nearby Amenities — Decide what amenities are important to you. Are you interested in being close to a small community complete with a grocery store, or is boat-only access in the remote wilderness more your style?

Wildlife Considerations — Research the area to find out if there are any wildlife problems. Are you going into bear country where food and garbage need to be locked down? Is there a rodent problem in that particular area?

Seasonal Fire Restrictions — Check to see if there are any seasonal fire restrictions, especially if your idea of a getaway includes telling ghost stories and roasting marshmallows around a campfire.

Neighborhood Considerations — Do a little research into the neighborhood. Does the area you are considering attract a lot of young partygoers, or will the constant drone of motorized watercraft ruin your tranquil lakeside retreat?

Wish List — Divide your wish list into must-haves and nice-to-haves so you know where you are willing to compromise. Are you looking for a luxury home on a lake or an off-the-grid cabin in the woods?

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV